The first meal of the day is a highly personal one; people are unyielding about whether their first mouthful is orange juice or coffee or corn flakes. The first meal of the day is an unpredictable one; people may eat breakfast at 6 a.m. or noon, while lunch and dinner fall within fairly limited time spans. And now the first meal of the day is becoming a very social one, at least on weekends, when brunch has not only become the focus of the day for many, it becomes the bulk of the day for some. So here is the first of a two-parts series on brunches. The choice was far too broad to include more than a small taste of what is available; many temptations had to be left out. I sampled from those promising the comforts that might tempt one to while away a lazy Sunday.Many also allow such whiling away of a Saturday. And one serves its Sunday brunch on Saturday only, and calls it Frunch instead. In any case, there is something for most tastes, whether orange juice or ouzo is what gets you going in the morning.

For Sunday brunches I am biased towards sunshine.Thus, I start out favorably disposed to the Taverna Cretekou, with its whitewashed, rough-textured walls, its blue tablecloths and slate floor, since they remind me of a Greek courtyard and are indeed lit by sunny windows. In addition, Taverna Cretekou has an extensive, original choice of brunch dishes that dispose me to returen and return. To start, nearly a dozen special drinks include a delicious champagne-wine-brandy-orange juice punch. The bread accompaniments are croissants with crisp edges of cheese oozing out of them. Salads are dressed with a pungent creamy vinaigrette. Then, the main courses: quiche made with spinach and two Greek cheeses, French toast of sesame-seeded bread with honey and slices of cheese, sauteed slices of roast lamb piled on sesame bread and moistened with gravy, all kinds of omelets, from sausage to pasturma to artichoke. Then there are eggs alexandros, its poached eggs topping a sandwich of spinach and chicken livers in pita bread, covered with cream sauce, the whole melting together as the eater cuts into it. Main dishes cost $3 to $4.75 and are a lot of fun for the money.